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Illustration by Sterling Clark

In 2017, President Donald Trump announced plans for “infrastructure week”, a series of events that would build support for the president’s trillion-dollar proposal to rebuild the country’s highways and bridges.

But, as The Hill newspaper in D.C. later noted, that whole week was overshadowed by ex-FBI Director James Comey’s gripping testimony on Capitol Hill.

Failure to shepherd an infrastructure plan through Congress was President Trump’s own making. He repeatedly veered off message in tweets and during infrastructure-themed speeches, missing opportunities to deliver for voters over and over again.

In fact, the idea of “infrastructure week” turned into a running joke in Washington, as the Trump administration announced one infrastructure week after another. The Week magazine counted six “infrastructure weeks” in the period between 2017 and 2019.

Said the New York Times, “At this point in the Trump presidency, ‘Infrastructure Week’ is less a date on the calendar than it is a ‘Groundhog Day’-style fever dream doomed to be repeated.”

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Not anymore.

President Joe Biden signed his $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill Nov. 15. Indiana will get $9 billion. And yet, not a single Republican member of the Indiana congressional delegation voted for the bill. Not one.

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, driving on roads in need of repair in Indiana costs each driver $638 per year, and 6% of bridges are rated structurally deficient. Drinking water needs in Indiana are an estimated $7.5 billion. Two hundred sixty-six dams are considered to be high-hazard potential. The state’s schools have an estimated capital expenditure gap of $518 million.

But no Hoosier Republicans voted with the state’s needs. They voted with their party to try and keep the president from scoring a “win”.

Success in a 21st century economy requires serious, sustained leadership on infrastructure investment at all levels of government. Delaying these expenditures only escalates the cost and risks of an aging infrastructure system, an option that the nation, Indiana, and Hoosier families can no longer afford.

- Kokomo Perspective